This table shows the main influences on New Zealand's population growth at different periods between 1840 and 2000. There was a startling period of growth between 1861 and 1880. The 360% increase in population during this period was caused by very high Pākehā migration inflows and a high rate of natural increase. After 1880, natural increase was the major factor fuelling population growth, although the Māori population declined until the 1890s.
Growth slowed from 1921 to 1940 as Pākehā fertility reached historically low levels and immigration slowed during the 1930s economic depression. However, growth in the Māori population was accelerating and Māori fertility was high. This, combined with a Pākehā baby boom and increasing immigration, boosted population growth after the Second World War. Declining fertility rates for Māori and Pākehā and increased emigration led to slower growth in the last few decades of the 20th century. Between the 1980s and 2000s, new migrants from Asian and Pacific countries diversified the country's population make-up.
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Source: T. Papps, ‘Growth and distribution of population.’ In Population of New Zealand / Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 12, 2 vols. New York: United Nations, 1985, vol. 1, tables 8 & 17; Ian Pool, Te[no-lexicon] iwi [/no-lexicon]Maori. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1991, p. 58; Statistics New Zealand